US Privacy and Data Protection Law Explained

Hello and welcome to Protocol Policy! Today, we’re breaking down the federal privacy bill: what’s in it? What are people crazy about? And what stands in its way? Plus, New York State is taking aim at Amazon and the story behind the whole school Taser drone debacle.

Is… is this really happening?

Every pig in the DC metro area took flight on Friday when three key bipartisan lawmakers unveiled drafts of their real, real, long-promised, but rarely materialized privacy bill.

The US privacy and data protection bill represents a crucial compromise between Representatives Frank Pallone Jr., Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Roger Wicker, and would give Americans unprecedented rights over their privacy, including the right to sue technology companies that violate this.

So, has the time for a federal privacy law in the United States finally come? Come back to the ground, little piggies. It might take a while.

There is a lot in this bill.

  • It includes a data minimization requirement and would leave it up to the FTC to determine what type of data collection is considered “reasonably necessary, proportionate, and limited.” Your reminder here that FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan is also a privacy hawk.
  • This would give Americans the ability to access their data, request that it be deleted or corrected, and export it elsewhere.
  • Companies would be prohibited from serving ads targeted to children under 16 and would be limited on how certain types of sensitive data can be processed and shared.
  • And big data holders should conduct annual civil rights assessments of the impacts of their algorithms and submit those reports to the FTC.

There are two aspects of the project that are likely to be particularly controversial.

  • As part of their compromise, lawmakers would give Americans a private right of action in this bill. It’s a blow to the tech industry, which has fought such provisions in states across the country.
  • “We are concerned about whether the bill could lead to another wave of nuisance lawsuits and we look forward to reviewing the bill further,” Craig Albright, vice president of legislative strategy at BSA | The Software Alliance, said in a statement.
  • But lawmakers also granted a victory to business interest groups by including a provision that would allow federal privacy law to override state privacy laws, with some notable exceptions. close.
  • That could cause problems for privacy advocates, who hoped a federal law would be a floor, not a ceiling. “This law would replace comprehensive privacy laws in emerging states and effectively freeze privacy legislation for years to come. So you have to get it right,” Justin Brookman, Consumer Reports technical policy manager. tweeted.

But the disagreements over these articles are not the only obstacles to the rapid passage of the bill.

  • Senator Maria Cantwell, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is still not on board, and she should be for this bill to go anywhere this session. “For American consumers to have meaningful privacy protections, we need strong federal law that is not riddled with enforcement loopholes,” Cantwell said in a statement.
  • In particular, she objected to the idea that the private right of action would begin four years after the enactment of the law.
  • And of course, it’s an election year, which gives just about any legislation a big chance of being passed.

Yet the introduction of such a far-reaching agreement between the two parties – who are, on almost all issues, bitterly at odds – is an important development. And despite all their reservations, it’s clear that the tech industry would love to see some form of federal privacy legislation passed.

It’s not just to prevent a patchwork of laws from complicating their operations across the country. It would also be a very convenient way to divert attention from those pesky big-tech bills that seem to be heading for the finish line.

—Issie Lapowsky (E-mail | Twitter)

In Washington

Lawmakers remain confident that the US Online Innovation and Choice Act will pass by August. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has asked the bill’s authors to release the final text in the coming weeks, according to CNBC.

Amazon is sending the message that the AICOA will harm minority communities. How do we know? A consultant for the e-commerce giant accidentally forwarded an internal email saying the same thing to POLITICO. Whoops !

Elon Musk seems to really want to get out of this deal on Twitter. In a letter to Twitter, Musk’s attorney accused the company of “resisting and obstructing” his access to fake account information on the platform and said Musk “reserves all rights arising therefrom, including its right not to consummate the transaction and its right to terminate the merger agreement.

ICE issues government cell phones to track migrants. The phones, which cannot connect to the internet or make calls, are equipped with the SmartLINK app, a tracking tool that immigration advocates say is a dramatic expansion of detention in the United States.

In the States

The lawmaker behind New York’s crypto mining moratorium has a message for those who complain: read the fucking bill. “It’s not a ban,” Assemblywoman Anna Kelles told CNBC. “It’s like a three-page invoice. So it would be wonderful for people to read it.

Speaking of New York, he’s about to force Amazon and other companies to disclose warehouse quotas. The bill, which also bans quotas that interfere with mealtimes and bathroom breaks, passed the state Assembly and Senate and now awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.

OK, so New York has been busy! Lawmakers also passed the nation’s first right to repair electronics law. This would require manufacturers of “digital electronics” to make repair instructions, tools and parts available. This bill also awaits Hochul.


At the same time that the pandemic has demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we have seen in new and increasingly stark ways how some communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how this divide exacerbates other inequalities in our society.

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In the courts

The Supreme Court wants the Biden administration’s opinion on whether to take over NSO Group against WhatsApp. Meta accused NSO of violating the CFAA, while NSO said he was immune because he worked for foreign governments.

Australian court ordered Google to pay $715,000 for YouTube videos which a federal judge has described as part of a “relentless cyberbullying” campaign against the New South Wales Deputy Premier. The court found that YouTube failed to enforce its own policies.

On protocol

Axon’s plans to install Taser drones in schools blindsided the company’s own AI ethics board. The board had previously rejected a proposal to fly Taser drones with police. Today, nine members of the board of directors are resigning, even though the company has suspended its projects. “We all feel the desperate need to do something about our epidemic of mass shootings. But Axon’s proposal to elevate a technical and police response when far less harmful alternatives exist is not the solution,” they wrote.

A New Crypto Bill Could Give the Industry the Exemptions It Demands – and was not included in the bipartisan infrastructure package. Bill, by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis, excludes a wide range of crypto-affiliated businesses from tax reporting requirements.

Around the world

“Migrant TikTok” becomes a tool for immigrants looking for resources and information on travel from Africa to Europe. This is a challenge for platforms, which ban human trafficking content but also want to preserve migration-related content.

Google is bankrupt in Russia, raising questions about how long the company can continue to operate there. Google’s Russian bank account has been frozen after it refused to give in to Russian government content moderation demands or pay fines for doing so.

In the sequence C

Mark Zuckerberg won’t have an obvious number 2 after Sheryl Sandberg’s exit. Instead, four men – CTO Andrew Bosworth, new COO Javier Olivan, CPO Chris Cox and President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg – are all next in line for Zuck.

In the data

70%: This is the percentage of Twitter accounts following Elon Musk that are deemed to be spam, fake or inactive. For the average Twitter user, that figure is around 10%.


There is so much more we need to do to ensure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It’s not enough to make sure everyone is connected. We must also extend the full reach of digital opportunities to people, communities and institutions.

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Thanks for reading – see you Wednesday!

About Sandra A. Powell

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